Developed first as a show car to celebrate the Ford Centennial, the Ford GT40 concept car came as a big surprise when it hit the 2003 Detroit Auto Show. Journalists salivated, enthusiasts beamed, and inside Ford, the bean counters quietly went to work to determine the impossible; make it a legitimate road legal sports car. Penned by Camilo Pardo, then head of the “Legends” studio, the GT40 concept car was lauded for both beauty and engineering advancements but it would ultimately be the uncanny resemblance to the one-two-three Le Mans victory cars, the enchanted smackdown of Ferrari dominance, and the legacy of some of the greatest racecar drivers that would be so beautifully summed up in the gorgeous lines of the Ford GT.
Shortly after the show car was released, Ford pulled out all the stops and committed to building the production car in record time. Radical in so many ways, yet offering balanced driving manners and legacy design, the Ford GT bested nearly all of the more expensive contemporary exotics in every performance class, all the while offering unheard of reliability and low-cost maintenance at an affordable price. During the two-year production run from late 2004 into early 2006, Ford built only 4,000 GTs, nearly all of which were sold with substantial dealer markup. Available with just four options—a McIntosh sound system, Racing Stripes, Painted Brake Calipers, and Forged Alloy Wheels—each car was surprisingly unique with a range of colors and stripes. But there was one other option. At a whopping $13,000.00 extra cost, the Heritage Livery (emulating the iconic Gulf Oil orange and blue paint scheme) was also available; an option filled on just 343 cars during the entire production run.
Once ready for production, the 2005 Ford GT featured a number of innovative technologies including a superplastic thermo-formed frame, aluminum formed body panels, roll bonded floors (for increased rigidity and structural improvement), a lightweight magnesium center console, and state of the art composite materials and bonding technology composing the rigid, but lightweight frame. State of the art technology was not limited to the chassis alone as the mid-mounted, 5.4-liter Ford Modular dual overhead cam 550-hp V8 engine, equipped with a Twin Screw Supercharger, was mated to a Ricardo six-speed manual transmission. Potent and highly capable, the Ford GT delivered top performance numbers in every category with 0-60 3.3 second times, the quarter mile lapsing in 11.4 seconds, and a top speed over 205 mph.